Monday Mornings with Madison

Money and Motivation

Every business owner grapples with the question of how best to motivate employees.  And for good reason.  Motivated employees are more productive.  Motivated employees also have a better attitude about their work and a better attitude toward others.  And motivated employees are more reliable, punctual, and loyal.  Motivated employees are also less likely to leave their job and go elsewhere.  In short, motivated employees are satisfied employees.  And lots of research has shown the relationship between employee satisfaction and a company’s success. Continue reading

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Understanding Multiple Intelligences, Part 2

Multiple Intelligence Theory, first proposed by Professor Howard Gardner in his book Frames of Mind (1983), stated that people learn, remember, perform, and understand things in different ways.  That didn’t sound like a revolutionary concept until he referred to these differences as “intelligences.”  But Gardner wasn’t talking about a person’s level of intelligence, like IQ.  Rather, he was talking about types of intelligence.  Gardner put forth that there are eight types of intelligence, namely:  language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, an understanding of ourselves, and an understanding of the natural world.  Each person has different intelligences, and the ways in which those intelligences are used and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains also differs from person to person. Continue reading

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Understanding Multiple Intelligences, Part 1

Most any employer can give countless examples of employees who are highly productive in the workplace but who would likely perform poorly on an IQ test.  The average entrepreneur himself might be an example of how IQ scores are ineffective indicators of workplace performance and success.  It is no wonder, then, that most workplaces pay little attention to “intelligence” as a factor in staff hiring.  Virtually no employer asks for a person’s IQ score to determine if the person is qualified for a job.  Perhaps that would be different, though, if what was considered intelligence in oneself and others was redefined to recognize that there are many different kinds of intelligence. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 3

Avoid the top 40 Most Misused or Mixed-up Words

If you think bad writing is only a problem for recent immigrants (for whom English is a second language) and grade school children, think again.  A parking lot sign read:  “Customer Parking Only.  All Others Will Be Toad.”  (It should read Towed.)  Another neon sign at a car dealership read:  “We Bye Used Cars.”  (Well, if business is good, perhaps do they say ‘bye’ to a lot of cars.  But the sign probably should read:  “Buy”.)   And a Days Inn roadside sign advertised “Free Wife Available”.  It should say “Wifi”.   (Hopefully, they aren’t giving away free wives.)   While amusing, consider that companies paid money to have these signs professionally printed.  No one at the company or at the sign printer caught the mistakes.   Many people surely read these signs and yet the signs weren’t removed or corrected, which suggests that perhaps no one caught these mistakes.  These signs point to the trouble many people have writing well.  Social media, newspapers, signage, advertisements, email solicitations and other written and published works are littered with examples of bad writing. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 2

For most people, writing is not easy.  Converting one’s thoughts to writing is hard, in part, because we don’t speak the way we are supposed to write and we’re not always entirely clear about what we want to say or the best way to say it.   That is true in any language.

Writing the English language has even more challenges.    For every rule there are always exceptions.  Words often have multiple meanings, spellings and sounds.   Nevertheless, writing is a skill used daily by most people in their personal and professional lives.  While no one expects the average person to be a master writer, it’s important to at least be a proficient one. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 1

Despite the recurring diatribes about the decline of the written word, in truth, people write more now than ever.  While few pen long letters on scented stationary anymore, people were pouring emails into the digital abyss at an estimated eye-popping rate of about 200 Billion per day in 2015.  We also send text messages, tweets, and instant messages and write blog posts and comments, and otherwise fire off words at one another in a near-constant flow of communication. Written communication is a required skill for most any job or profession today.  Whether it is composing a memo, preparing a letter, drafting a report, taking notes in a meeting, crafting a business plan, or just pounding out a quick text message, written communication is part and parcel of practically every occupation on a regular basis.  People write PowerPoint presentations, business requirement documents, speeches, mission statements, position papers, standard operating procedures, manuals, brochures, package copy, press releases, and dozens of other specialized types of documents.  Even salespeople and accountants – occupations often thought to be sans writing — must write reports and sales agreements. Continue reading

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Boosting Creativity in 2016

Many people focus on make resolutions of things we want to do more, do less, do better or stop doing altogether.  Obviously, the goal of resolutions is to use the commitment as an impetus to become a better person or live a better life.  But, in truth, most people can just recycle resolutions year after year with little or no changes at all.  Typically, those resolutions are broken or forgotten within the first hours, days or weeks of inception.   Ideas for how to keep those resolutions fail.  Perhaps what is actually needed are new ways to tackle old problems?  What is really needed is creativity. Continue reading

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Retargeting: Digital Ads that Hit the Bulls-Eye

Have you ever done a search for a product or service and then seen ads for companies that deliver that product or service later on websites that have nothing to do with that product or service?  For example, you might have done a search for lenders that handle commercial property loans and mezzanine financing.  You clicked on the websites of a few of those lenders.  Then later — hours, days or even weeks later — you did a totally unrelated search for hotels in Dallas for an upcoming conference and you saw an ad for a lender you perused earlier offering mezzanine financing on the hotel aggregator’s website.  At first, you thought “coincidence.”  Then you saw a similar ad for another lender when you searched for an upscale restaurant to dine at with your spouse and clicked on the Opentable.com site to make a reservation.  You thought, “Strange.”  Then you saw yet another ad for a commercial real estate lender when you checked accuweather.com for the weather forecast for your golf outing on Sunday.  At that point, you felt like “Big Brother was watching.”  How could such diverse and unrelated websites know you were looking for a commercial real estate lender? How could those lenders know to advertise on sites that you frequent? The answer is retargeting. Continue reading

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The Art, Skill and Gift of Speaking

The ability to communicate verbally is an essential skill for most any occupation.  And yet there are a lot of idioms and expressions about wasting time talking, saying the wrong things and talking too much.  Talking up a storm.  Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth.  Shooting the breeze.  Speaking the same language.  Running off at the mouth.  Spilling the beans.  Big talk.  Talking a blue streak.  Talking one’s ear off.   There are even nicknames for people who talk too much or speak when they shouldn’t.  Chatty Cathy.  Chatterbox.  Windbag.  Blabbermouth.  Perhaps it makes sense that society has so many ways to criticize talk because of the increased amount of babbling that bombards us from all directions including radio, cell phones, television, robocalls, videos, etc.?  Perhaps. Continue reading

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How Business Sense and Scents Add Up to Dollars and Cents

Most would agree that vision and hearing play a big role in one’s career and professional success.  Any person without the ability to either see or hear surely has a harder time dealing with phone calls, reading and responding to emails, interacting with clients, driving to meetings, visiting job sites, reviewing product quality, etc.  Vision and hearing are fundamental sense for most jobs. Continue reading

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